China Creates Regional anti-ISIS Lineup without US, Australia and Japan

Chinese intelligence and counterterrorism chiefs don’t believe the US-lead coalition Mosul offensive will go all the way to defeating the Islamist State and eradicating Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s caliphate in Iraq and Syria. What they do see is fallout from that offensive landing at their door. They fear ISIS fighters evicted from Mosul making tracks for the Far East in search of new recruits and new killing grounds.
Like the Russians, the Chinese are skeptical of the Obama administration’s commitment to hammering ISIS and its caliphate to extinction, say DEBKA Weekly’s intelligence and terror experts. They fear a small terrorist core will be allowed to survive.
On that basis, China’s vast Ministry of State Security (MSS) has moved forward to build a new intelligence framework to work in conjunction with regional governments for combating ISIS attempts to take root in Southeast Asia. They include Indonesia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Cambodia, Brunei, Malaysia, Thailand Myanmar and possibly Laos, with the Central Asian nations Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in line to jump aboard.
The United States and its allies, Australia and New Zealand are conspicuously excluded from this coalition, as well as Japan and South Korea.
China accuses its ethnic Muslim Uighurs of having sent fighters to ISIS in Syria and Iraq, although there is little evidence of this. According to some intelligence estimates, around 200-500 Chinese nationals are currently fighting for ISIS in those two Middle East countries, as well as 516 Indonesians 100 Filipinos, 100 Malaysians and two Singaporeans.
Chinese intelligence says that some have begun trickling back to their home countries, including China, and may be preparing to launch terrorist attacks.
On the face of it, a trifling one thousand Islamic terrorists can hardly present a major security threat to the vast reaches of Southeast Asia.
Nonetheless, our counterterrorism sources report that the threat of ISIS seeking fertile new fields for terror in the region may be more extensive and faster-growing that these very partial figures suggest.
“Caliph” Al-Baghdadi has long eyed Asia rather than the Middle East, as ISIS’ natural habitat for growth. He is in fact finding a welcome from likeminded radical Islamic leaders in a number of countries.
Among them are Indonesia’s Bahrum Naim (aka Abu Muhammad al-Indonesi) and Salim Mubarok Attamimi (aka Abu Jandal) and in Malaysia, Muhammad Wanndy Mohamed Jedi (aka Abu Hamzah.)
The ethnic and religious Muslim insurgencies running in Thailand since 1948 are gaining in violence in the southern Malay Patani Region, which is made up of three provinces and part of a fourth, and may threaten the regime’s stability in the fragile aftermath after the legendary king’s death.
The Rohingya uprising in the northern Rakhine State of Myanmar weathers every effort at suppression, while the Moros, the Muslims of southern Philippine region of Mindanao, doggedly fight the government in Manila, just as they rose up against the Spaniards, the Americans and the Japanese before independence.
This Philippine insurgency has claimed the lives of 120,000 people in the past 40 years and displaced millions.
Ample ground for radical Islamists to plant their seeds is to be found among the various underground movements of Malaysia, the 100 million Muslims of India and their coreligionists in Bangladesh, Vietnam and Singapore.
The Islamist peril springing up across the region may prove too big a handful for the new Chinese counterterrorism outfit to manage. Beijing must also contend with the distrust of its partners in the new enterprise. Some neighboring governments suspect China of seeking to use Islamic terror to gain a foothold in their capitals and intelligence systems.

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